All About Iron Fist, K’un-L’un’s Living Weapon

Iron Fist , unlike the rest of the superheroes, is not a simple battle name that protects the identity of the person behind it; It is much more than that, it is a sacred title that is earned through training and dignity.

Danny Rand , a millionaire playboy who could rival Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne in wealth, is the person who holds that title and one of the mightiest warriors in Marvel Comics.

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Join us on an exciting journey through the rich and complex history of the martial arts master with a fist capable of destroying everything that comes his way!

First apparition

Iron Fist , also known as Iron Fist , debuted in Marvel Premiere #15 (1974), a series that paraded different characters such as Adam Warlock, Hercules or Doctor Strange. Iron Fist would be in the header for eleven issues (from 15 to 25).

First apparition

Its creators, Roy Thomas and Gil Kane joined the fashion of martial arts, having as major influence the Bruce Lee movies. This is one of the points in common that the character shares with his eternal companion and friend Luke Cage, both being a reflection of fashions belonging to the seventh art. Master Kane not only has the merit of designing his emblematic (and unbeatable) original costume, but his ability to draw the fight scenes fill the pages of this groundbreaking debut with agility and dynamism.

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In his first appearances, Iron Fist was a very different character from the one we met in later decades, he only harbored hatred and the only thing that motivated him to continue was the anger he felt towards the person responsible for the death of his parents and his desire to revenge, which even made him a little off-putting.

main influences

In the 1970s, there was a tremendous obsession in the US with the Far East, its mysticism and spirituality, although later it was sadly treated in a very superficial and topical way, almost always using martial arts for violence, something far removed from its authentic essence.

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Roy Thomas himself recounted in an article published in that same issue of Marvel Premiere that a year earlier he had heard the expression “ Iron Fist ” in a movie of the genre that he had seen and had thought that it would be a great name for a superhero. It is said that this film would be One-armed boxer (The one-armed fighter) directed by Yu Wang in 1971 and in it something called the Iron Fist ceremony or maneuver was mentioned. Other sources point to the film Fist of Fury (Oriental Fury), by Lo Wei, with Bruce Lee as the star.

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Finally, he met with Gil Kane , who was also a fan of the martial arts genre, and he enthusiastically proposed incorporating some of the elements of Bill Everett ‘s (co-creator of Daredevil, by the way) Amazing Man into the story as a tribute to who was an idol and a friend. John Aman was a Western orphan raised from an infant by Tibetan monks to achieve superhuman potential through Eastern discipline. After hard training with his masters, Aman left the monastery to do good in the outside world aided by his talents (including the ability to transform into a green mist) under the name Amazing Man .

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We can affirm that the character is also heir to the pulp literary tradition. Its origin is reminiscent of characters from early 20th century literature, such as Tarzan or The Shadow . A young man trained or raised in the “wild world” of the East or Africa, who returns to Western “civilization” with skills to combat evil.

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Mind you, Iron Fist wasn’t Marvel’s first martial artist. Before him, there was Shang-Chi and White Tiger. It is precisely because of the existence of Shang-Chi that it was decided that Danny Rand be Caucasian and not Asian (the quota was already covered), something that is in the very essence of the character. With the premiere of the first season of his series on Netflix, criticism for “cultural appropriation” and whitewashing intensified. At a time when a greater representation of minorities is increasingly needed, the controversy was once again served.

tragic story

When Danny was 9 years old, Wendell Randall took his son , his wife Heather, and their partner Harold Meachum on an expedition to the Himalayas to try to find the lost city of K’un Lun, where he had lived as a child. The friend and partner, who wants to keep the empire created by Wendell, took advantage of the fact that the family is about to fall off a cliff to force Wendell’s downfall. After the two of them escaped alone, Heather sacrificed herself to save little Danny from a pack of wolves. Her spirit will bind to the city of the dead linked to K’un L’un and will be known as the Silver Dragon .

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Alone, sad and full of rage for the death of his parents, Daniel Rand is welcomed by the inhabitants of K’un Lun, a mystical city inhabited by descendants of anthropomorphic aliens and that is not located exactly on our planet, but in a small parallel dimension that intersects with ours. There, Danny is trained by Lei Kung and gains supernatural powers and knowledge about chi and how to channel it. But without ever losing sight of his goal: revenge on Harold Meachum.

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Over the course of ten years, Danny Rand trained to be a master of the martial arts and finally undertook the test that all the best students of K’un L’un face: battling Shou-Lao the Immortal , a powerful dragon whose heart was removed from its body and placed in a brazier, kept mystically alive through a dragon-shaped scar on its chest.

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Rand had the idea to block the scar with his own body, which killed the dragon, but also left a permanent dragon-shaped scar on his own chest. Therefore, that characteristic dragon that the character wears on his chest is not a tattoo… it’s a burn!

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Kun-Lun, vacation spot

After his parents died, when he was just 9 years old, the town of K’un Lun adopted Danny as a member of their community. This region is located in Tibet , although in essence, it exists in another dimension and was built from the essential remains of a spaceship that impacted that interdimensional region millions of years ago.

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K’un Lun, is the capital of one of the “Seven Cities of Heaven” (cities located and suspended in parallel dimensions) The rest of the cities are: K’un Zi, Peng Lai Island, Z’Gambo, Under City, Tiger Island and Kingdom of Spiders. Each of them has its own champion and protector and all of them bear the title of Living Weapon or Immortal Weapon . Some of them are the Steel Serpent, Danny Rand’s nemesis, the Prince of Orphans, Steel Phoenix, etc…

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The gateway to K’un-Lun is located in China and can be accessed every 15 years . The Iron Fist serves as K’un-Lun’s gatekeeper and protector. Danny Rand lived there until he was 19 years old.

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K’un-Lun had a pivotal role in the famous Avengers vs. X-Men . In that story, Hope Summers (the mutant messiah destined to be the receptacle of the Phoenix Force) is brought to K’un-Lun, where Iron Fist takes charge of her training and tells her about Fongji , an Iron Fist who hosted of the Phoenix long ago.

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powers and abilities

In addition to being a master of all of K’un Lun’s martial arts, he has the ability to focus his chi (or vital energy, something that is part of all living things) into his fist, hardening it, making it glow with an unearthly glow. and giving him the ability to destroy almost anything with it . However, summoning this immense power leaves Danny physically and mentally exhausted, unable to repeat the act for a time, though over time he has made it less taxing and can recover more quickly.

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His strength, speed, stamina, durability, agility, reflexes, and senses can be greatly intensified. He is also a skilled acrobat, gymnast, and master of various Earth fighting styles, such as Shaolin Kung Fu, Aikido, Fujian White Crane, Judo, Karate, Muay Thai, Ninjutsu, and Wing Chun.

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Throughout his history, other powers related to his training have also been seen, from healing to telepathic, but none of them have ever been particularly delved into: he can focus his chi inwards to heal himself or outwards to heal himself. others from his injuries, as well as telepathically merging his consciousness with someone else’s.

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Not the first iron fist

Over the centuries, the citadel of K’un Lun, where he was raised and trained, has given the world numerous Iron Fists. The previous one was Orson Randall , protector of Daniel’s father, who managed to be one of the first Westerners to deserve the power of the Iron Fist.

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Orson Randall was the last Iron Fist before Danny Rand and was long presumed dead. He fought against the Germans during World War I and was marked by battlefield experience. Perhaps that is why he considers the Iron Fist mantle to be a curse rather than a gift, due to the violence and death that come with the title.

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He is experienced in focusing his chi into his guns, which goes by the name of Gun-Fu , a combination of guns and kung fu that resembles a martial arts battle using firearms instead of traditional weapons. This fictional and sophisticated style of fighting is very common in Hong Kong action cinema and American films influenced by it.

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The ability to focus the Iron Fist’s power on other objects was first applied by Wu Ao-Shi , the only woman to earn the title of Iron Fist, who channeled it through her dates.

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Throughout history there have been multiple characters who have borne the mantle (and power) of the Iron Fist. We advise you to take a look at the article where we talk about them, because you are going to get more than one surprise!

True friends, enemies for hire

During his journey as a hero, Danny develops friendships and relationships (personal and/or professional) with characters such as ex-cop Misty Knight and martial arts teacher Colleen Wing . The two would end up forming the agency known as the Sisters of Dragon , The Daughters of the Dragon.

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Danny and Misty would live for a long time in a relationship, one of the first (and few) interracial romances in comics. However, the ups and downs of any relationship (which is multiplied by 100 if you are a comic character) and a pregnancy that turned out to be false, put an end to their love story and they are currently not together.

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The relationship between Misty and Colleen, however, remains incorruptible and, in addition to being partners, they are unconditional friends .

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It is interesting to note that K’un-Lun, far from being that idyllic place that legends spoke of, was a somewhat xenophobic and terribly sexist alien society. That meant that in his early days, Danny Rand had a lot to learn about dealing with the female sex.

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When Luke Cage was blackmailed into attacking Misty Knight, Danny confronted Power Man, sparks flying from the get-go.

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However, both decided to help each other (and others), founding the mythical Heroes for Hire agency . Danny and Luke’s friendship is truly special, one of the most authentic, fun and enduring in comic book history. Despite their differences (a white rich boy and a poor black kid from the neighborhood) they have fought side by side for decades and their relationship remains stronger than ever today. The daughter of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones is named Danielle in honor of Danny!

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Iron Fist has also always had a good relationship with Daredevil . When Matt Murdock was jailed for shady matters that are beside the point, Danny decided to don the Man Without Fear suit to clear the name of his friend and ally. Of course, no one informed the blind lawyer of the matter and the surprise was monumental…

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Iron Fist sided with Captain America during the original Civil War , opposing the Superhuman Registration Act while posing as Daredevil. In that event he was even caught by the pro-registration camp and locked up in the Negative Zone prison.

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A curiosity: Sabretooth (Sabretooth) was not originally a villain of the X-Men. Chris Claremont and John Byrne created him in Iron Fist #14 (1977) as the antagonist of Iron Fist.

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basic path

Following its debut at Marvel Premiere , where it was honored with writers like Roy Thomas, Tony Isabella, Len Wein, and Doug Moench, Iron Fist got his own comic. Although it only lasted 15 issues, this stage is considered a classic and was made by Chris Claremont and John Byrne , the creative team behind the golden age of the X-Men. Claremont and Byrne resolved the Steel Serpent storyline in our friendly neighbor Spider -Man ‘s Marvel Team-Up and eventually the two took over Power Man, bringing Iron Fist back as his sidekick.

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Power Man and Iron Fist passed through the hands of Claremont, Ed Hannigan, Jo Duffy, Denny O’Neil, Kurt Busiek, Steven Grant, Isabella and Jim Owsley (now known as Christopher Priest). The union of these two characters, a priori so strange, turned out to be a success that lasted for almost a decade, but that came to an end after 125 issues with the death of Iron Fist and the passage of Power-Man to the secrecy.

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Of course, like almost any character in the comics, this death did not last forever and the explanation given to save the ballot was that he had been replaced for a time by a double created by the H’ylthri . Finally, John Byrne himself ended up bringing him back in the pages of the series that he was writing and drawing at the time, Namor the Submariner.

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But despite some occasional attempts to recover the character (along with his inseparable Luke) such as Heroes for Hire by John Ostrander and Pasqual Ferry, it was necessary to wait until the beginning of the 21st century for him to enjoy a new title of his own, The Immortal Iron Fist , which ran for 27 issues under scripts by Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, and Dwayne Swierczynski.

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The first issues of this series, masterfully reworked by Ed Brubaker , Matt Fraction and a spectacular David Aja , reconstruct the myth of Iron Fist and K’un-L’un and reveal new elements of their mythology, such as the existence of other cities. celestials, their immortal weapons, and the lives of former wielders of the Iron Fist.

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The character was also part of the underground New Avengers team led by Captain America during the first Civil War . And he continued in the team later, along with his friend Cage.

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Luke and Danny subsequently returned to star in a new volume of Power Man and Iron Fist , with Danny himself temporarily getting his own Ed Brisson-scripted series back. More recently, we’ve seen him join the new Defenders in Brian Michael Bendis’s now-ended series The Defenders , where he shared fights and secrets with Luke, Jessica Jones and Daredevil.

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During the martial arts craze of the 1970s, other collections appeared at Marvel that capitalized on the craze of the moment, such as Deadly hands of Kung Fu (published by Magazine Management Company , a Marvel affiliate company), featuring both Iron Fist such as “The Daughters of the Dragon”, in addition to other characters such as Shang Chi or White Tiger.

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To conclude, we have to say that very few martial arts heroes have prospered since the glory days of kung fu in the 1970s. Despite everything, Iron Fist has managed to survive despite everything and we look forward to enjoying it. his adventures, alone or with his inseparable Luke, for a long time.

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Bonus Track

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In our special section, a journey through the evolution of the character in his different appearances on the small screen over the years.

Evolution of Iron Fist in movies and cartoons

On the Marvel YouTube channel they explain the secrets of Iron Fist quite well.

Immortal Iron Fist: The Seven Capital Cities of Heaven in 3 Minutes- Marvel TL;DR